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A tribute to Kobe Bryant, the selfless Techpreneur

A tribute to Kobe Bryant, the selfless Techpreneur

The world over has mourned the sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in California. Bryant, aged 41, was heading to a Mamba Sports Academy game at the time when the helicopter crashed.

Much as he wrote his story in the history books through the achievements he garnered as a sportsman, Bryant was a selfless entrepreneur off the court.

In 2013, he co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. The partnership would turn out to be a $100 million venture capital fund that gives life to tech startups seeking a way out of the birth stage.

The firm now has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies. Additionally, Bryant Stibel claims at least 10 successful exits, including Dell and Alibaba. It also has investments in Fortnite creator Epic Games, digital payment company Klarna and household products firm The Honest Company.

In 2014, Bryant invested a 10% stake in sports drink BodyArmor, which is now said to be worth $200 million after Coca-Cola purchased a stake in the firm. Bryant was once quoted to state that he hoped to be remembered for his investments just as much as his NBA career when speaking with CNBC in 2016.

“If you really want to create something that lasts generations, you have to help inspired the next generation, right? They create something great. And then that generation will inspire the one behind them. That’s when you create something forever.”

In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. Through this company, the basketball star wrote and narrated a short film called “Dear Basketball,” which won the Academy Award for best animated short film in 2018. 

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertA tribute to Kobe Bryant, the selfless Techpreneur

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The Innovation Village Kampala is expanding to Gulu, Jinja, and Mbarara

The Innovation Village Kampala is expanding to Gulu, Jinja, and Mbarara

It’s been just over four years of programmes and projects based in Kampala, and The Innovation Village is thinking of a new strategy. In partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, the hub has unveiled a strategic plan that is going to see its operations extended to three new cities outside of Kampala.

The plan, dubbed The Innovation Village Game Changers Roadshow, will take startup entrepreneurship and youth innovation to the North, East and Western regions of Uganda. The hub seeks to grow Startups, SMEs and Purpose-Driven Enterprises, with ways to deliver solutions for community challenges.

The expansion will take place between January and March 2020 with Gulu coming first, Jinja next, and Mbarara later. According to CK Japheth, Founder and CEO of The Innovation Village, the space in Gulu will be situated at the former Smiling Panda, while the Jinja hub will be situated on a 1920s Madhvani building.

The launch of these brand new innovation spaces will be a starting point for the budding of youth entrepreneurs and talented youth will be exposed to various events and activities that will enable them discover and develop their potential.

CK says that the new venture will be a beginning of a new era in doing more for Ugandan youth by covering more geographical space than we have before”. He adds that there is a vast pool of over $12 million to facilitate the entire expansion process and this will create opportunities for the innovators in the regions.

“By 2024 we aim at achieving the following targets: creation of 300,003 direct new jobs for young people from which another 60,657 indirect jobs (20%) will be created, skilling 230,000 young people and facilitating 163,010 new linkages. We believe that this move to expand to other regions outside of Kampala will enable us these ambitious targets”

This development comes two months after the hub securing two awards at the 2019 Top 100 Mid-sized Companies Award Gala.

The Innovation Village is not the first to extend its services beyond the capital city. In January 2018, Hive Colab co-founded opened a second branch in Mbarara.

Speaking to SautiTech, Lorna Twinomugisha – the Mbarara site manager said that the idea to expand was entirely new to the vast majority of the population and they are still trying hard to sell it. This saw them reduce renting space to as low as Shs50,000 a month per individual, a third of what it costs to get the same space at their main hub in Kampala.

Also, to get people to know about the hub and how they can benefit from it, they partnered with universities, which give them an opportunity to address students and they also organize pitch contents and other programs that students could pick interest in.

Read About: Tech hubs and co-working spaces in Kampala

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertThe Innovation Village Kampala is expanding to Gulu, Jinja, and Mbarara

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Featured Tech

Poll: Is Uganda (and East Africa) any ready for 5G?

Poll: Is Uganda (and East Africa) any ready for 5G?

The tech space in Uganda has been excited, since the end of last week, with the news that the telecom company MTN is to start testing 5G superfast mobile internet in Uganda, a first for East Africa.

Part of the live 5G demonstrations that MTN is experimenting in Kampala include showcasing real life applications of 5G technology such as cloud virtual reality, bionic robots, buffer-less 4K streaming, among others.

Interestingly, this is not the first time 5G is put to test in Africa. MTN has already done similar live 5G demos in Nigeria and South Africa; with Nigeria highly hopeful to start rolling out 5G in select cities in 2020. South African data provider rain offered 5G customers in parts of the country, while Gabon Telecom also did tests on 5G mobile in Libreville. Not to forget, even Lesotho has keen interest in the next generation of connectivity.

But the bigger question to be answered is: Is Uganda really ready for 5G?

What is 5G?

5G is the abbreviation for fifth generation. It’s the next generation of mobile internet technology and comes on the heels of the 4G LTE standard. The new tech is predicted to offer amazing yet faster download and upload speeds, with websites opening in microseconds, and videos downloading in seconds.

The other aspect expected of 5G is the least latency or lag when using your internet, such as when talking on WhatsApp or playing video games online.

To run on your device, 5G makes use of radio waves to transmit and receive data between an antenna or mast and your phone. Unlike the earlier technologies, it relies on higher radio frequencies.

Key to note is that 5G networks need a denser network of base stations or masts to operate successfully, and is better suited for areas with a dense population – such as urban areas where many people are going online at the same time.

5g uganda east africa

Are we about to have 5G in Uganda and East Africa?

GSMA once reported on 5G in Africa, and estimated that by 2025, only seven African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, will have 5G by 2025. And this will account for only 3% of mobile data compared to 16% globally.

To this, enterprises and public institutions will be the initial 5G customers and that they will access 5G via a fixed access point. This means that it will take a while for 5G to be fully available for mobile devices.

GSMA also believes that 5G will be a key enabler of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as technology is seamlessly embedded within society and especially in commercial and industrial processes. This improved capability and performance will come from a more advanced core network, increased spectral efficiency and capacity, and further network densification.

The costs of 5G

Governments need to develop regulations to allow for a 5G rollout. Also, telcos have to incur the infrastructure costs that come with the advancement. They need to build the vast network of masts or antennas to transmit the signals.

Plus, a mobile carrier can’t launch full 5G services until the country’s communications regulator holds a spectrum auction to sell the rights to transmit over specific frequencies. This calls for expensive investment.

Then the question of affordability also comes in. It’s been written that “If African consumers can’t afford 4G, they certainly won’t be able to afford 5G or the new devices necessary to use 5G on a smartphone.”

We can only wait! Give us your thoughts on 5G in Uganda, East Africa, and Africa as a whole.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertPoll: Is Uganda (and East Africa) any ready for 5G?

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Featured Telecom

Which is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?

Which is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?

In the world today, data is the way to go and internet connectivity is the key driver. The world revolves around it and demand for fast and reliable internet is increasing by the day. Of course, as the demand gets higher, the next point of consideration becomes quality and affordability. The price of data bundles in prices has been, on average, fair to go with.

We have at least gotten used to getting an internet bundle for as low as UGX 250, but the questions that come up as you purchase are: how much data can you get out of it and how much use can you make of this? A number of innovations such as the MTN Freedom bundles, Airtel’s My Pakalast data bundles, as well as Africell’s revised data bundles are all in place to make a choice from.

During the launch of their New Chapter, Neeraj Gala – the Africell Chief Commercial Officer, affirmed the company’s commitment to offer customers consistent delivery of quality data at an affordable price.

“The New Chapter strategy is hinged on ensuring our customers enjoy the best value in terms of service and affordability. These bundles were designed with that mind-set and we remain committed on giving our customers the best value for their money.”

2020 Daily Data bundles prices in Uganda

mobile data daily bundles uganda

Something new on the scene is the unlimited daily bundle introduced by Africell. We have been used to daily packages that have a limit to them, with much of the usage being reserved to how much of the bundle you have left to use.

At UGX 20,000 you get to surf your self out the entire day. Africell has also boosted its bundles to be above the other competition offers when it comes to how much you get for the price paid.

2020 Weekly Data bundles prices in Uganda

weekly data bundles uganda

If your choice is the weekly data marathons, you have the best to choose from. MTN Uganda has the fewest options, with only three offers, while Airtel and Africell have a broader package with 6 and 5 offers respectively.

2020 Monthly Data bundles prices in Uganda

monthly mobile data prices uganda

Read About: Lycamobile launches in Uganda

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertWhich is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?

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Forget Google Instant Apps, here’s Huawei Quick Apps

Forget Google Instant Apps, here’s Huawei Quick Apps

The Google-Huawei divorce from last year left a lot to mend if the latter was to continue doing business. There were unanswered questions on what new Huawei mobile releases would look like without Google services pre-installed.

Towards the launch of the Huawei Mate 30, it was already evident that Google would not offer its mobile services to the series, despite there being a temporary lift to the ban imposed earlier. On the launch day, we would get to know of the Huawei Mobile Services, the perfect alternative to Google Mobile Services (GMS).

Now, the manufacturer has made public the availability of Huawei Quick Apps, the most likely alternative to Instant Apps from Google. Quick Apps has been built to be a gap-filler for Google’s Instant Apps framework, while offering  users an installation-free app experience on Huawei’s smartphones.

As has been the case with Instant Apps, Quick Apps wants to make users less reluctant when choosing to install an app.

What’s the big deal with Quick Apps?

Ease of access: You can get Google’s Instant Apps strictly through a deeplink URL and through the Google Play Store. But Huawei widens the access to Quick Apps to more options such as through the Huawei AppGallery, through Search, Instant Access, Smart Care, through the Huawei Quick App Center app, and through deeplink URLs.

Ease of use: Huawei has made Quick Apps easy to open instantly, and be used without having to install. Huawei also claims that they can update automatically, and take up limited storage space. When closed, you can rediscover them easily through the home screen icon, or find them through Recently Used apps, or through Push notifications.

Fast build: The time actually involved in building a Quick App or Quick Game is really quick. If you already have an existing H5 app or game, you can have a Quick App or Game up and running within an hour. The timeframe expands by two more days if you wish to incorporate Huawei’s account or payment services. Huawei claims that new Quick Apps can be developed and released in as early as under a week.

The downside of Huawei Quick Apps

If your app/game is very large in size, there is a loss in performance that becomes apparent because of the larger reduction in the volume of the package. Also, if your app relies on some rarely used APIs, you will be unable to migrate completely in a clean fashion.

Huawei also notes that apps that require special permissions, such as theme APKs for example, are not supported through the Quick App format.

Quick Apps also need to run on the “Quick Application Center” platform, which will be preloaded on devices through their Android 10 updates. Devices not on Android 9 need to download and install the platform once to be able to run Quick Apps.

Which phones can run Huawei Quick Apps?

All Huawei smartphone launched after the Huawei Mate 30 directly support Quick Apps, while other selected Huawei and Honor devices will support it when they receive their Android 10 update.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertForget Google Instant Apps, here’s Huawei Quick Apps

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Facebook puts plans for ads in WhatsApp on hold

Facebook puts plans for ads in WhatsApp on hold

For all the fears we had that Facebook could initiate the presence of ads in WhatsApp, the verdict is now clear. It is highly reported that the company will not go on with the plan, as reported by WSJ.

Over the past months, WhatsApp was doing its best to find out how to integrate ads into the service and there was a likelihood that this would take effect this year .

Initially, WhatsApp was making money off download fees and a then $0.99 annual subscription, but the service became free to use upon Facebook acquiring it. The parent company would later unveil plans to generate more revenue from the app with the option of selling ads.

Lest we forget, this is one of the reasons app founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton decided to resign from the company. WSJ reports that these two, in 2016, changed WhatsApp’s terms of service to explicitly forbid displaying ads in the app.

Probably the bigger concern was that a commercial messaging feature would force WhatsApp to weaken its end-to-end encryption.

Actually, as of last May, Facebook officially unveiled prototypes for ads in its Status feature, where one can spot ads in between status views. But all has been put to rest.

Much as the plans to introduce ads to Status could be implemented at a later time, the focus for now shall be on building out money-making features that let “businesses communicate with customers and better manage those interactions”.

The post Facebook puts plans for ads in WhatsApp on hold appeared first on SautiTech.


Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertFacebook puts plans for ads in WhatsApp on hold

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Lycamobile officially launches in Uganda

Lycamobile officially launches in Uganda

Over a year ago, rumour around town was that a new telco – Lycamobile – was to make its way into the Ugandan market. At the time, without any much change witnessed since then, the industry was umbrella-d by the existence of MTN Uganda, Airtel and Africell as the top telecom companies in the respective order.

It is now official, Lycamobile is now in Uganda! The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which has been in and about the global telecommunications scene for more than a decade, will run on the 072 prefix code.

Just so you know: An MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.

The new telco boasts of existence in over 20 countries, including Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland. In Africa, Uganda is the third market after South Africa and Tunisia.

As an MVNO, how will Lycamobile operate?

We are likely to see Lycamobile forming a partnership with Tangerine, an internet service provider, to offer voice and data services in Uganda. With existence in Kampala, Wakiso , and Mukono, Tangerine is a good partner for the new telco in its bid to grasp an early market lead.

It is likely that the telecom company will focus only on 2G (for voice calls) and 4G (for internet users).

To date, Ugandans have found a darling in MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda, given their reliable network coverage and mobile money platforms that make it easy to communicate and send funds countrywide easy.

To these you add Africell Uganda – that offers good internet rates, as well as the recovering Uganda Telecom. We can only wait to see what Lycamobile will have to offer in the industry, and how much success it will garner given that MVNOs have not had a success story registered yet in the country.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertLycamobile officially launches in Uganda

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YellowBird spices up ride-sharing with Car Pooling feature

YellowBird spices up ride-sharing with Car Pooling feature

As economies grow, and tech takes shape, service cost saving becomes easier to implement. Rising ride-sharing app, YellowBIRD, is revolutionizing the industry in Uganda with a new car pooling feature. This involves a driver picking up passengers that go the same way he goes, while getting compensated a partial amount for fuel cost.

How does it work?

People with spare seats in their car can use the app to advertise their journey and the cost per seat. The main intention for the drivers is not to make a profit but to have passengers that can be charged an amount to help cover their costs of the journey.

People looking for a ride can then use the YellowBIRD app to find drivers making the same journey and book and pay for the seat. Once the request to travel is accepted by the driver, they can chat within the app and pre-arranged the meeting spot before starting the journey.

Precisely, this is all it takes! The car owner doesn’t provide passengers with on-demand services. They will definitely go to the required destination in any case, regardless of whether he has fellow companions or not. All that the car owner does is to save on fuel and other travel costs but he or she doesn’t intent to earn money of it.

Since this service implies that passengers share a ride, they must participate in the sharing of a total ride cost. In most cases, the cost of fuel is shared between all companions. But also a driver can look for companions not for financial sharing, but for people who have a driving license. When there are 2 or more drivers in the car, it is possible to have a bit rest during the trip.

Is YellowBIRD car pooling a safe alternative in Uganda?

When it comes to ride sharing, safety has always been one of the main concern. People are naturally hesitant about sharing car space with a stranger. What YellowBIRD does is to have each member having pre-registered as a YellowBIRD user, and ensures that they also add a government approved Id to start using the car pooling service with the app.

After using the service, drivers and passengers can rate one another to further boost trust within the community and give future users more information about who they are travelling with.

The app also has a secure messaging service means drivers and passengers can chat before sharing a ride — to find out more about one another and to arrange practical details about the journey.

Benefits of Car pooling

The benefits are simple — drivers offset some of the cost of their journey while passengers gain transport that they might not otherwise have been able to afford.

Cost effectiveness — By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each person’s travel costs such as: fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of driving.

Environment safety — Carpooling is also a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel as sharing journeys reduces air pollution, carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. Authorities often encourage carpooling, especially during periods of high pollution or high fuel prices.

Car filling— Car sharing is a good way to use up the full seating capacity of a car, which would otherwise remain unused if it were just the driver using the car.

Challenges with Car pooling

Flexibility — Carpooling can struggle to be flexible enough to accommodate in route stops or changes to working times/patterns.

Reliability — If a carpooling network lacks a “critical mass” of participants, it may be difficult to find a match for certain trips. The parties may not necessarily follow through on the agreed-upon ride. YellowBIRD is addressing this concern by making sure the customer who is interested on a ride pays the reservation and is billed before the trip in case he does not turn up.

Riding with strangers — Concerns over security have been an obstacle to sharing a vehicle with strangers, though in reality the risk of crime is small. One remedy used by internet carpooling schemes is reputation systems that flag problematic users and allow responsible users to build up trust capital, such systems greatly increase the value of the website for the user community.

Women Safety — When it comes to cab or car pool services, women safety is still a major concern. On this matter, we make sure to display the gender of the user in case the passenger only want to travel with the same gender.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertYellowBird spices up ride-sharing with Car Pooling feature

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Featured Telecom

This is why the Africell new voice bundles are unbeatable

This is why the Africell new voice bundles are unbeatable

When you opt to get yourself a new Africell SIM card, which will cost you UGX 2,000, it comes pre-loaded with UGX 1,000 airtime valid of seven days as well as free minutes, SMS and data available upon your first recharge of the activated card.

It is with the new card that you get to enjoy Africell’s revised voice bundles that extensively offer a whole new set of affordable package. You can also enjoy the new voice combo bundles that get you on-net and off-net minutes, SMS, as well as data in the package.

All you have to do is dial *134# and get the package that suits you!

Let’s take a look at each and make a comparison with the competition.

Africell Unbeatables voice bundles

Africell daily voice bundles:

  • UGX 100 gets you 3 minutes to call Africell customers
  • UGX 250 gets you 10 minutes to call Africell customers
  • UGX 500 gets you 25 minutes to call Africell customers
  • UGX 1,000 gets you 75 minutes to call Africell customers
  • UGX 1,250 gets you unlimited call bundles and an extra 25 MB data

Africell weekly voice bundles:

  • UGX 5,000 gets you 350 minutes to call Africell customers
  • UGX 7,000 gets you unlimited call bundles and an extra 50 MB data

What does the competition offer?

There are a number of options that the competition offers but you will find it hard to refuse the Africell offer – probably the reason for the unbeatables name.

MTN Uganda already had a set of existing MyPakaPaka voice bundles where one can dial *160*1# to enjoy making calls and sending SMS messages to fellow MTN customers at a discount. Here, 60 minutes and 60 SMS cost UGX 1,100; 45 minutes and 45 SMS cost UGX 900; while 30 minutes and 30 SMS cost UGX 700.

Also, there are the normal daily bundles that customers find at *160*2#: including 6 minutes at UGX 500, 10 minutes at UGX 700, 20 minutes at UGX 1000, and 60 minutes at UGX 2000. These are the ones that the company is manipulating into all-network voice bundles.

Airtel, on the other hand, has a My Pakalast offering that lets you get on-net mintes, SMS and data customized based on your spending habits.

Africell new voice combo bundles

Africell daily voice combo bundles:

  • UGX 500 gets you 20 minutes to call Africell customers, 2 minutes to call other networks, 20 SMS, and 20 MB
  • UGX 750 gets you 30 minutes to call Africell customers, 3 minutes to call other networks, 30 SMS, and 50 MB
  • UGX 1,000 gets you 50 minutes to call Africell customers, 5 minutes to call other networks, 50 SMS, and 100 MB
  • UGX 2,000 gets you 150 minutes to call Africell customers, 15 minutes to call other networks, 150 SMS, and 300 MB

Africell weekly voice combo bundles:

  • UGX 5,000 gets you 200 minutes to call Africell customers, 20 minutes to call other networks, 200 SMS, and 200 MB
  • UGX 10,000 gets you 500 minutes to call Africell customers, 50 minutes to call other networks, 500 SMS, and 500 MB

What does the competition offer?

MTN Uganda has an equivalent offer called the Go Bundles. The daily offer goes for UGX 2,500 and gets you 25 minutes to call MTN customers, 5 minutes to call other networks, 30 SMS, and 30 MB. The weekly offer goes for UGX UGX 20,000 and gets you 200 minutes to call MTN customers, 50 minutes to call other networks, 250 SMS, and 250 MB.

Airtel Uganda has an equivalent offer called Kyabise Combo Bundles. The daily package includes three offers. UGX 2,500 gets you 75 minutes, 75 SMS and 75 MBs; UGX 1,500 gets you 20 minutes, 20 SMS and 20 MBs; while UGX 750 gets you 10 of each of minutes, SMS and MB. The weekly offer goes for UGX UGX 10,000 and gets you 300 minutes, 300 SMS, and 300 MB.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertThis is why the Africell new voice bundles are unbeatable

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Uber introduces PIN code feature for riders to identify the right drivers

Uber introduces PIN code feature for riders to identify the right drivers

As part Uber’s strategy to beef up the safety of its riders, the company is offering users a four-digit PIN code to assist in ensuring that they board into the right car.

The ride-hailing company is rolling out the new feature across the U.S. and riders will be able to use the PIN codes to identify the right drivers to navigate them as well as to ensure that there is no impersonation of these drivers.

This follows the death of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson, who was murdered in March last year after getting into the car of a man that claimed to be an Uber driver.

Also Read About:

  • Uber expands to Ivory Coast
  • Why Uber increased uberX fares in Uganda
  • Uber launches its boat service in Nigeria